Knockma Hill is topped with prehistoric cairns. But also it's the home of the fairies.
The soft breezes that pass one in an evening in West Galway are called fairy paths. They are said to be due to the the flight of a band of the good people on their way to Cnockmaa (Hill of the Plain), near Castle Hackett, on the east of Lough Corrib, which is their great resort in Connaught. [...] A soft hot blast indicates the presence of a good fairy; while a sudden shiver shows that a bad one is near.
Notes on Irish Folk-Lore by G. H. Kinahan in The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. 4, (1881), pp. 96-125.
In Evans-Wentz's classic 'The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries', his informant Mr John Glynn, the town clerk of Tuam, mentions that:
"The whole of Knock Ma (Cnoc Meadha) which probably means Hill of the Plain, is said to be the palace of Finvara, king of the Connaught fairies. There are a good many legends about Finvara, but very few about Queen Maeve in this region."
"During 1846-7 the potato crop in Ireland was a failure, and very much suffering resulted. At the times, the country people in these parts attributed the famine to disturbed conditions in the fairy world. Old Thady Steed once told me about the conditions then prevailing, "Sure, we couldn't be any other way; and I saw the good people and hundreds besides me saw them fighting in the sky over Knock Ma and on towards Galway." And I heard others say they saw the fighting also.'
The main cairn on top of Knockma is huge, easily up there in size with Queen Maeves Cairn on Knocknaree.
Its very difficult to see with the trees around it and does call into question how some hill-top cairns would have been visible if foliage began to encroach.
Its also a welcome change from having to climb over ditches and rivers as there is a path all the way up to the cairn. There is a parking area on the north side of the hill and the walk up to it seems to very well used.
Although funnily enough the cairns themselves arent easily viewed from the path. So either you need to go up here when the trees dont have leaves or else bring a GPS.
There are amazing views to the south and west with many interesting mountain ranges.
There is a second smaller cairn which seems to have been modified into a defensive structure.